“It’s the biggest brand you’ve never heard of.”
That’s the way Cash Warren described his men’s essentials brand, Pair of Thieves.
Warren, a film producer who is married to actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba of The Honest Company fame, created Pair of Thieves with two childhood friends — Alan Stuart and David Ehrenberg — a decade ago as a simple sock alternative. Since that humble beginning, the brand has achieved sales of $100 million, branched out into underwear, loungewear and T-shirts, and ranks as the fifth largest men’s underwear brand after Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Calvin Klein and Reebok — ahead of Jockey, Polo, Nike, Adidas and Champion, according to Circana.
And now, Pair of Thieves is launching into a new category: performance underwear and socks under the Supercool name.
In a Zoom interview from the brand’s headquarters in Los Angeles, Warren said the initial idea for the “scrappy, self-funded start-up” was to offer an alternative to the thin, nylon socks that dominated the market at that time. As they say in a deck for the Supercool launch: “We were three childhood friends who were annoyed that socks sucked. So we made them better.”
Soon after, they branched out into underwear, which quickly became the “hero category,” Warren said, as Pair of Thieves benefited from the loyalty that men exhibit for that classification. They launched at Target and quickly added more upscale stores such as Selfridges, Nordstrom, Opening Ceremony and Fred Segal. Today, the line is carried at more than 6,000 stores, ranging from Walmart to Macy’s.
Stuart pointed to the brand’s “sweet spot,” which is its ability to offer style and performance at an affordable price point. On the website, a two-pack of Superfit boxer briefs are available for $24.99 at regular price and $19.99 on promotion, while Every Day boxer briefs retail for $19.99 for a four-pack.
In addition to core neutral colors such as white, ivory and black, Pair of Thieves offers a rainbow of other solids along with colorful patterns, all of which offer a “no-roll waistband and stay-put leg.”
The target customer is Gen Z, or men and boys aged 11 to 26. And Pair of Thieves appeals to this age range with not only its updated styling, but also its tongue-in-cheek marketing and social media activations.
“No kid is excited about buying Hanes,” Stuart said.
Mona Goshin, who heads design for the brand, said the Pair of Thieves offers “a different voice” than its competitors. “We look at the macro and micro cultures, the street and the sports world to create quality, technical garments that are also fun.”
Inclusivity is also an important part of the company’s focus. Pair of Thieves is offered in sizes from small to 4XL and the packaging for each size uses models that represent that size. “Our small packs have a small guy while our XL packs have a big guy,” Stuart said.
The company also has a philanthropic side. Since launching, it has donated nearly 4 million pairs of socks, Stuart said, and it works with charities ranging from Baby2Baby, which supports children living in poverty, to the LGBTQIA+ nonprofit The Trevor Project, and Never Alone, an organization focused on mental health.
But the focus now is on Supercool. Stuart said the goal for the collection is to “bring recess back.” He said the major sports brands tend to focus on elite athletes and “working out until you puke.” But Pair of Thieves is seeking to make it fun to be active again.
According to Supercool’s introduction materials: “As children, we’d run around until we were out of breath, covered in sweat but eager to do it all over again. Somewhere between the bliss of youth and grown-up life, we lose the joy of moving our bodies.”
Supercool is made from 87 percent polyester and 13 percent spandex for the body fabric and 100 percent polyester for the pouch, a blend that performs well and is comfortable so customers can “enjoy better basics and embrace the spirit of play,” the company said. It features moisture-wicking and antiodor properties, zoned air vents and a contoured pouch. Its mission statement is: Sweat happy, play fair, move in style.
The collection will be available in neutral and bright colors and will retail for $26.99 for a two-pack.
The socks have a similar aesthetic and properties and retail for $14.99 for a three-pack. Goshin said they’re made from nylon fibers, also have zoned air vents as well as ankle and arch support and are flexible and lightweight and designed to be worn with sneakers.
The initial launch is with Target, the team said, but Warren added that the company is in discussions with sporting goods retailers as well.
Interestingly, Pair of Thieves has managed to straddle both the mass and more premium markets since its launch. Warren explained that shortly after introducing its socks at Target 10 years ago, the founders were approached by higher-priced retailers and created Thieves Gold to answer the call for a more elevated offering. That got its start at Nordstrom.
But they soon realized it was too difficult to try to build two lines at the same time and opted to shutter Thieves Gold. But to their surprise, Nordstrom and other higher-priced stores decided to stick with the brand even though it was also carried at more moderate-priced retailers.
“At Target and Walmart, we’re the premium brand,” Warren said, “but at Macy’s, we’re the more affordable option.”
Today, underwear represents 55 percent of overall sales, socks 25 percent, shirts 15 percent and loungewear the remainder. Going forward, the partners see opportunity to “continue to diversify” the offering, Ehrenberg said, and extend the assortment into complementary products.
To introduce the Supercool collection, Pair of Thieves has tapped Shedeur Sanders, a quarterback for the Colorado Buffaloes at the University of Colorado, and the son of Deion Sanders, as its first celebrity endorser. Sanders will be featured in the media campaign for the product this fall.